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The Sage and the PeopleThe Confucian Revival in China$
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Sebastien Billioud and Joel Thoraval

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190258139

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190258139.001.0001

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Questioning Modern Categories

Questioning Modern Categories

(p.125) 5 Questioning Modern Categories
The Sage and the People

Sébastien Billioud

Joël Thoraval

Oxford University Press

Is Confucianism a religion, a philosophy, a moral code, or even a science? Since Western categories were imported from Japan at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries these issues have been discussed intensely in China. Taking these debates into account as a mere background, this chapter primarily focuses on the way activists today deal with and question these categories. If categories matter, it is not here because they have a classificatory role, but because they have a performative function: categorization is synonymous with practice and the demand for institutions. This chapter analyzes how shifting popular understanding of how categories apply to Confucianism impacts the nature of the concrete projects directly carried out in the name of the sage.

Keywords:   Confucianism, categories, teaching, jiao, religion, zongjiao, philosophy, Mou Zongsan, science, knowledge, utopia

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